The Hedonistic Taster | № 21 | Gary Farrell Winery – Russian River Valley
by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML
“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer
Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate tasting format.
The title derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.
Like any work of art, every great wine has a soul – the part of the painting, the story, the pour that haunts you, that rivets you, that sparks your ‘mortal coil.’
Tasting the wines of Gary Farrell Winery by winemaker Theresa Heredia rivets my soul.
First, a little bit about my tasting protocols. With few exceptions, the wines I taste derive from small-lot, artisan winemakers.
I file all industry collateral (product information shipped with the samples) for review after I make my own notes.
I do this because I do not want my tasting experience ‘influenced’ by tasting notes prepared by the winemaker. I find wine tasting, like fingerprints, as individual as the person tasting. What I smell, taste, feel differs from that of the person drafting the ‘company’ notes.
Only after I prepare my notes and transfer them to the post do I review the winery notes. I review them for the same reason I always like to study the exam answers after sitting for a designation. I want to know if I succeeded in ‘syncing’ with the winemaker’s story, if I honored the wine’s specific terroir, if I captured what I call the wine’s ‘soul.’ In this rare instance, my own notes nearly mirrored those of the winemaker.
As a student of Burgundy, I find Theresa Heredia’s wines for Gary Farrell Winery on par with some of the finest domaines in the Cote d’Or. Her wines reflect a timeless finesse and mystery endemic to a great Burgundy, wines that reveal some, but not all of their secrets – leaving us to plumb the depth for answers, only to find more questions.
A note about the wines:
Gary Farrell Winery takes full advantage of Russian River Valley’s rich array of microclimates and vineyards in producing these approachable, age-worthy wines. These wines all showcase the 2014 Russian River vintage, note-worthy on many levels, including one of the region’s mildest, and earliest, harvests on record, as well as an ongoing drought that produced smaller berries of condensed intensity, and wines of lower alcohol yet greater structure.
Wine: Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay – Russian River Valley
Alcohol: 13.8 %
Suggested Retail: $35
Robe: Clear pale lemon robe.
Nose: Medium intense aromas of citrus, golden apple, almond flower.
Palate: Lemon curd, hazelnut, pear bouche; medium-light body, clean acids, soft finish.
Suggested Pairings: The perfect hostess gift for the most discriminating of palates, able to ‘pair nicely’ with any summer gathering, especially those pool or dockside.
Wine: Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay – Russian River Valley
Suggested Retail: $45
Robe: Clear, medium-gold robe.
Nose: Medium-intense aromas of butterscotch, pear, white flower.
Palate: Meyer lemon, stone fruit, dill w/ golden apple backnote on the bouche; medium-light body, creamy mouthfeel, bright, clean finish. Multi-faceted, Mâcon-like stunner.
Suggested Pairings: Because of its multi-faceted flavor profiles, it can span the spectrum in pairing possibilities. I chose to serve as an apéritif with a fruit and cheese plate featuring stronger cheeses like Irish Cheddar and Roquefort, some organic apple slices, and roasted local almonds.
Wine: Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
Suggested Retail: $45
Robe: Clear, medium-hued garnet robe.
Nose: Medium-intense aromas of red fruit, spice and floral on the nose.
Palate: Cherry cola, red plum, Braeburn apple on the bouche; medium body, acids, tannins, finish.
Suggested Pairings: Personal fave: deckside with grilled salmon and summer vegetables.
Wine: Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
Suggested Retail: $55
Robe: Clear, deep garnet robe.
Nose: Medium-intense aromas of red currant, cranberry, rose.
Palate: Red fruit, potpourri, black tea bouche; medium body, acids, lustrous tannins, silky finish.
Suggested Pairings: This brooding wine compliments more complex fare like roasted game or bœuf bourguignon.
Wine: Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
Suggested Retail: $75
Specs: Available Exclusively to Wine Club Members by Phone Allocation.
Robe: Clear ruby robe.
Nose: Lilting aromas of red fruit, black tea, florals.
Palate: Cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry, rose petal bouche; graceful body, elegant structure, noble tannins. Utterly beguiling, Burgundian Premier Cru quality quaffer. Worth collecting.
Suggested Pairings: As with any fine Burgundian wine, Theresa Heredia’s Gary Farrell 2014 Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir pairs best with contemplation among one’s nearest and dearest.
I want to hear from you! Leave your thoughts on these wines – and any other wine questions – below in the comments section. Cheers!
Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved